Reading news reports on the future–and present–of doctoring can get gloomy.
The question came from the quiet one in the back. Self-reflection came upon me immediately.
There were so many technical questions: AF ablation, when to use an LV lead, who gets an ICD, and how do you decide on warfarin–just to name a few. The staff of my recently joined group wanted to know about electrophysiology. An electrophysiologist’s bag of tricks was new to them.
Over dinner and with my trusty Macbook, I answered their questions and provided an EP show-and tell. The how and why of seemingly crazy things like, burning the heart or implanting a shocking device were discussed They work hard, many are parents, but they gave their time after a busy Monday to learn more.
So far, it was purely informational, objective and factual. Many lists were made. Then, her hand went up. She is young, little in stature, and very shy. In the office she sits behind our most savvy procedure scheduler, never talking, always paying attention. Her focus gives me comfort.
“Dr Mandrola, I want to know why you became a doctor–was it your family…What do you like best about what you do?
How cool a question was that? Where does one begin?
During the long pause required to answer such a surprising question a flood of memories flow pleasantly through my mind. Thoughts like…
–The sensations of making money by delivering the morning newspaper in the pre-dawn cold. (Why does delivering newspapers as a boy always come first when I think of the doctor journey?)
–The guidance counselor who said my SAT score was too low, and I clearly wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor.
–The first semester in college where I discovered the notion that tests are super easy if you study hard for them.
–As a medical student, the excitement of running around the CCU late at night with the cardiology fellow when I was supposed to be on Medicine call. (That was the era where heart attacks were treated with Swan-Ganz catheters.)
It was time to stop, even though the pleasant memories of the journey continued flooding my mind.
Gosh, I am thankful she asked.
Working with dedicated people who share the same goal of caring for others is yet another joy of doctoring. It is still way good.